Original title: Verzorgd uit de bijstand
In recent decades, the emphasis in the Dutch social assistance benefit system has shifted from income support to reintegration into the labour process. As part of this shift, there has been a stronger focus on the obligations of benefit recipients to balance the entitlements. Recently, for example, it was proposed that the language requirements in the Work and Social Assistance Act (Wet werk en bijstand) be tightened up. There have also been recent proposals that social assistance beneficiaries should have their benefit cut if they arrive late or poorly turned out for mandatory job interviews. These proposals prompted the Netherlands Institute for Social Research/SCP to carry out this exploratory study. Interviews were conducted with case managers from municipal social service departments and employers who have taken on people in receipt of social assistance benefit. Based on the findings, this report describes the nature and backgrounds of the problems in relation to the behaviour, appearance and language of social assistance beneficiaries who are receiving route counselling to help them find work. The study also provides an insight into how case managers deal with these complex issues. What scope do they see for steering their clients on this point, and does it make sense to impose sanctions in order to help them find 'a neat way out of social assistance'?